… were it made a question whether no law, as among the savage Americans, or too much law, as among the civilized Europeans, submits man to the greatest evil, one who has seen both conditions of existence would pronounce it to be the last; and that the sheep are happier of themselves, than under the care of the wolves. It will be said that great societies cannot exist without government. The savages, therefore, break them into small ones. Notes on Virginia, Query XI, 1782
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Non-grasping leaders seek to diffuse government’s power.
Jefferson addressed an age-old question. Which is worse: No government or too much? He compared native Americans, whose governance was distributed among many, with Europeans, where it was concentrated among just a few. He favored the Indians’ way.
He compared the people to sheep. They were happier when left to themselves, as the natives did, then when protected by wolves, which he likened to European nobility.
What about the claim that people can’t have a great society without some kind of government? By implication, Jefferson accepted that claim. By necessity, then, government should not be concentrated in the hands of a privileged few but delegated very broadly into small units close to the people. Consolidated power held the seeds for the destruction of society.
Note that Jefferson regarded the American “savage” as more protective of people’s rights than the “civilized” Europeans.
“Mr. Lee is the consummate professional, both on the stage and behind the scenes.”
Executive Director, Greater St. Louis Federal Executive Board.
Mr. Jefferson, too, is the consummate professional for your audience.
Invite him to speak. Call 657-657-2739